Dan Graf of Baron Baking with mass of dough, image

Dan Graf of Baron Baking wrestles a mass of dough.

Dan Graf of Baron Baking with long string of bagel dough, image

Graf then turns a mass of dough into a curving string.

bagels boiling in a large pan of water, image

A hefty pan of bagels boil.

bagel cut in half, image

Just add cream cheese, onion, and lox for a perfect treat.

Bagels: An East Bay Specialty

Road Journals Blog—For an East Coaster such as myself, California’s bagels were always an easy target—puffy, bready, misshapen excuses for the real thing. But all that is changing now as a number of bakers in the East Bay use the long proofing times that give bagels their flavor and chewy texture. Here are four of the best outposts for true bagels. Area codes is 510 except as noted.

Authentic Bagel Company
Brothers Mark and Jason Scott follow a modified Polish recipe from the early 1800s that begins with a sourdough starter. When it comes time to season favorites such as the everything and rye bagels, they load on the seeds, coating both sides for maximum flavor. 463 2nd St., Oakland, 459-1201, abagelcompany.com.

Baron Baking
Crusty like a pretzel, the chewy bagels Dan Graf turns out come in classic flavors and can be ordered in advance or else purchased at the restaurants he supplies, including Saul’s Restaurant & Delicatessen (1475 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, saulsdeli.com) and Stag’s Lunchette (362 17th St., Oakland, stagslunchette.com). baronbaking.com.

Beauty’s Bagel Shop
Montreal-style, wood-fired bagels are the name of the game at this shop where the fried chicken sandwich with beet coleslaw is a standout. 3838 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, 788-6098,
beautysbagelshop.com.

Sunrise Bagels Cafe
Boiled and baked on site since 2007, these chewy rounds are the real deal. The shop also wows with 14 different flavors of cream cheese. 1701 D Willow Pass Rd., Concord, (925) 686-4212, sunrisebagelcafe.com.

Photography by Peter McCollough (Dan Graf); by Eric Smillie (two of bagels)

This blog post was first published in May 2014. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.